When was the last time you came across a series which sucked you into the narrative set?
The creator of this groundbreaking series is none other than the 32 year old Crystal Joy. Based in Chicago and New York, she does it all. An Actress, Screenwriter and Producer and not to mention is the rightful owner of the indie production company Blu room productions, she is a woman of wonder.
She provides us with a new form of storytelling; a series combined only using pictures with a script to go along with it. The series is titled ‘Nights’ and it follows a woman living a relateable everyday life in Chicago with relateable everyday struggles. The images used in essence gives off an interesting cinematographic vibe to it and this is definitely eye-catching, especially the fact that it’s on Instagram; a medium that is fundamentally used for sharing images.
“Nights” was a project that I wanted to have fun with, so I really just went with the flow. I booked my trip to Ghana months before even creating this series, so everything happened organically. Vol 2 ended with Shayla having to make a choice due to her circumstances. Being that I was already going to Ghana, it made perfect sense to photograph there. It was my first time in Africa, and I didn’t know what to expect, but I was so excited and anxious to visit. However, the pictures (and the trip) exceeded my expectations, and it made my story that much more special. There was a lot for me to process when I returned to the US, so I wanted to incorporate how I naturally felt about my experience in Africa through this character.
With this series, she cleverly combined 2 different continents, one being her home country, America and another, a place she feels she has a connection to.
Chicago is where I’m from but going to a place that my ancestors once called home was a surreal feeling. It was a lot to process as an African American woman. The environment, the joy of being there– I wanted to show some of those feelings through Shayla.
With this brilliant series, however, Crystal didn’t necessarily want to evoke a conversation out of it. She says she wanted to create a series that is both relatable to men and women and as a lover of realism, she wanted the audience to feel what Shayla was feeling as her problems isn’t foreign to any adult.
With every character I write, I incorporate as much realism as I can, so audiences can see themselves through the characters.
But most importantly of all is what made Crystal start a project. Her aim, she says, is to share, engage, and encourage others to use what is around them.
What made me start this series is my love for storytelling, and my desire to deliver narratives in new and refreshing ways. I’ve had the pleasure of creating and collaborating through the mediums of film and theater. As I continue to evolve as an artist, I want to channel my creativity through different avenues by using what’s already accessible to me. Many of us have a hard time putting our phones down, which can be bad, but advantageous for this project. Essentially, movies are simply photos in still motion, and people love captivating images. So, I combined photography and my love for script writing to create something unique and fun to read. In my eyes, Instagram was the perfect platform to execute this.